Arsenal and Chelsea will face off in an all English Europa League final on Wednesday in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Having fought their way all the way through from the group stages, the London clubs are thoroughly deserving of their spot in tournament’s showpiece.
Chelsea snuck past Eintracht Frankfurt in a semi-final penalty shootout while the Gunners made light work of Spanish side Valencia.
Unfortunately, for both teams, they could be set to play the biggest game of their season in front of very few of their own supporters.
That is because Baku is proving to be an extremely difficult place to get to for the average fan.
- Chelsea fans make 8 day trip to EL final
- Only 2000 Chelsea fans going to Baku
- Arsenal phoning fans to try and sell EL tickets
There are no direct flights from England while accommodation is limited and painfully expensive, leaving most fans with no choice but to stay home in London.
Having only been granted 6,000 tickets each in 69,0000 capacity stadium, the two clubs are set to return a combined 6,000 tickets that they were simply unable to sell.
That’s right - they have only been able to sell half of their paltry allocations.
So who is to blame for this whole debacle?
It’s quite simple really - UEFA.
Baku should never have been chosen as a venue for a major European final but once again the governing body chose dollar signs over the fans.
UEFA have come in for heavy criticism for their bizarre choice of venue - especially after they received similar criticism for hosting the Champions League final in Kiev last year.
UEFA reports deems Baku inadequate
In fact, a UEFA report has emerged stating that they themselves deemed Baku an inadequate host city.
The city made a bid for both the 2019 Champions League and Europa League finals back in 2017.
Per the report, the city’s lack of accommodation was found to be far below the required level and Madrid was eventually named host for the June 1st Champions League final.
The report read: “The number of hotel rooms within a 60km radius of the stadium falls short of UEFA requirements for a Champions League final and the city could accommodate only a very limited number of fans and sponsors in standard hotels. Mitigation measures such as campsites, university dormitories and guest houses would need to be investigated.”
The valuation report also raised doubts about the city's ability to host the Europa League final as well, claiming Baku would still fall short of the required level of accommodation needed.
And yet, strangely, UEFA ignored their own findings and recklessly appointed Baku as hosts anyway.
You can’t help but feel sorry for Chelsea and Arsenal fans.
Madness from UEFA.